Meandering through NSW and Victoria

Tuncurry to Yamba

Monday June 22 saw us packing up to move on again. We stopped along the way at Buladelah for morning tea and then followed the tourist drive to Tuncurry. Unfortunately the lakes that we drove beside for ages were mostly hidden by trees but we did get a few glimpses. We settled on a caravan park at Tuncurry beside the outlet to the sea. After setting up and having lunch we did our usual drive around to get our bearings. There were some lovely views from Bennetts Head Lookout and then the Giant Sandhill at One Mile Beach at Forster was particularly impressive

Bulahdelah - Myall River         SAM_8740         SAM_8742 One Mile Beach and Giant Sandhill Forster

Myall River at Buladelah               Forster Headland      One Mile Beach & Giant Sandhill

David and I went for a walk before breakfast on Tuesday and later in the morning we all walked out to the end of the breakwater firstly and then in the other direction along to the bridge that crosses from Tuncurry to Forster. We were all ready for lunch by the time we got back to the vans. In the afternoon we drove north to Hallidays Point, Black Head, Red Head and Diamond Head where we saw some more lovely beaches. I came across an interesting fact that day. There are 10,685 beaches in Australia (a beach can be defined as a stretch of sand longer than 20 metres and remaining dry at high tide) and if one was to visit one beach a day it would take 29 years to see them all. I guess that’s without allowing time to travel from one to another!  Now there’s a piece of trivia for the next trivia night! We went to the Sporties Club at night for dinner as Ron had been told they did a three course dinner for $10. Unfortunately we were there on Tuesday night and the $10 dinner is only on Monday night. We enjoyed a nice dinner anyway and it didn’t break the bank.

SAM_8749 Black Head Beach    SAM_8754 Diamond Beach

Black Head Beach                                                          Diamond Beach

Wednesday June 24 dawned and it was moving day again. It is a memorable day in the Guyatt household as Stevo and Matt were born on that day 40 years ago. Our lives have never been the same since! Di and Ron were parting company with us so we stopped along the way at a little town called Kew to have an early birthday morning tea for David’s birthday which is next week. It was sad to say goodbye to them as we’ve had some great times together. They left us to go on to Red Rock and we continued on to North Haven which was only 12 kilometres away. It’s another lovely spot with more beaches to explore and tick off the list! The park is lovely too – quite spacious and with great shade trees. We drove over to Laurieton (a nearby town) and spent quite a while watching pelicans and seagulls begging for fish scraps from the fishermen.

SAM_8756 North Haven Beach         SAM_8769         SAM_8772

Grants Beach, North Haven         Hungry pelicans                      Yachts on the river

Thursday was spent sightseeing around North Haven. We firstly drove up North Brother Mountain which has some wonderful views over Queens Lake, the Camden Haven River and the little towns of North Haven, Laurieton and Dunbogan. We drove back to Kew next and then just north of there to a little town called Kendall. Miss Nellie’s Café had been recommended to us for morning tea so we thought we should try it out. It was worth driving 15 kilometres for. On our way home we went to have a look at Wash House and Dunbogan Beaches and that brought another lovely day to an end.

SAM_8776         SAM_8784 Wash House Beach         SAM_8795 Dunbogan Beach

View from North Brother             Wash House Beach                  Dunbogan Beach

We left North Haven on Friday morning and to go to Corindi which is 35km north of Coffs Harbour. The park is in a lovely spot set right beside the beach. At 5.30 that afternoon the park managers put on nibblies in the camp kitchen so we joined in that and enjoyed chatting with some of the other campers. The next morning we went for an early morning walk on the beach then after breakfast packed up the picnic bag and went to do some exploring. Di and Ron had spent two nights at Red Rock after leaving us and they’d really enjoyed it so we went there first. David sat on a seat overlooking the beach while I wandered along it to take some photos. It’s a pretty spot. After leaving there we went back south a bit and drove around some more beaches. We had morning tea overlooking Arrawarra Beach then took a look at Mullaway Beach and finally went to Woolgoolga. There were markets on there so we parked and had a wander then climbed back in the trusty Pajero and continued on up to the headland. There were quite a few cars parked at the top and when we stopped we realised that there were some whales out at sea. We’ve been looking for whales all along the coast so were very excited. One was reasonably close in so I snapped away merrily and was pleased to find later that I’d managed to get a couple of good shots. We spent some time later in the day sitting watching the surf roll in back at Corindi Beach.

SAM_8865        SAM_8827 Red Rock Beach         SAM_8891

A whale breaching                         Red Rock Beach                       Corindi Beach

(Double click to enlarge and see my whale!)

Sunday was moving day again. We’ve visited Yamba a few times and really like it so booked in for three nights at our favourite park here. It’s near the river and the surf beach and is also right in the town so we are able to pretty much walk everywhere. There were markets on in the park next to the caravan park so after setting up we went  to have a look at what was on offer. We bought some morning tea but that was all. After lunch I walked up town and met a friend (sister of one of David’s friends from before we were married) for coffee while David had a rest and then went and refuelled the car. He joined Caroline and I for a while after that.

We started Monday with an early morning walk  – along the river and then out to the end of the breakwater. We were interested to watch an old boat shed being demolished at the beginning and end of our walk. It certainly didn’t take long to knock it down. We filled the rest of the morning up with a visit to a little town called Gulmarrad (near Maclean) where my cousin Marie and her husband Tom live. They are on acreage in a lovely peaceful part of the world and have resident kangaroos to keep them entertained. We really enjoyed catching up with them. The rest of the day was fairly uneventful with just a walk up town and then another short walk down by the river.

SAM_8918 Yamba         SAM_8921         SAM_8917 Yamba sunset (2)

Home is the fisherman                 Yamba lighthouse                          Day’s end

Today we caught the ferry across to Iluka with Carolyn, a friend from days gone by from our church.  Her husband Bob met us at the other end and we then went for a drive out to Woody Point which is a National Park just out of Iluka.  They’d gone camping there a few weeks ago with Ros and John – our good friends and also our daughter-in-law Rachel’s parents.  It’s a lovely spot and one we’ll put on our list to come back to one day.  After that we headed to the Iluka Hotel for lunch and a long chat and it was lovely to spend time with them.  David and I returned on the ferry on a beautiful sunny afternoon.  It was great to see some dolphins including a mother and baby as we neared Yamba but unfortunately I was unable to get any photos of them.

SAM_8935 Yamba Iluka Ferry         SAM_8936

MV Mirigini                                                                    The beautiful Clarence River

Tomorrow we’ll be moving on again but not too far up the road.  We’re planning to spend five nights at Hastings Point and will then pack up and head for home so only one more post to go!

 

 

Meandering through NSW and Victoria

Sydney to Nelson Bay

We left Mittagong on Monday morning for a 67 kilometre drive to Sydney which took us well over an hour to travel. More mountains and windy roads as we negotiated the Broughton Pass. David and Ron have just about had their fill of these roads. Once we’d set up and had lunch we went to do some grocery shopping and then drove down to a bayside suburb called Lilli Pilli to have afternoon tea. By the time we got there it was raining so we just sat in the car and had our coffee.

Although the weather looked awful on Tuesday we decided to have a day trip to the Blue Mountains. It rained nearly the whole way and as we wandered the main street in Katoomba then at the lookout to see the Three Sisters. The Blue Mountains looked great as they poked their heads through the clouds.  Our next stop was Scenic World where Ron, Di and I went on the Scenic Railway, Scenic Skyway and Scenic Cableway. As it was still wet and mushy underfoot we opted not to do any of the walks. The railway brought back memories of riding on it with David and his mum in 1967 and Chris and Brenda in 1985. On both occasions I nearly had the circulation in my arm cut off – the first time by mum and the second time by Brenda! Neither of them enjoyed the experience! We then had a drive around a bit more of the area before returning to Sydney.

SAM_8440Clouds and Blue Mountains

SAM_8465              SAM_8521              SAM_8443

Scenic Railway                            Scenic Skyway                             Scenic Cableway

Wednesday was spent in the city. We caught the train in to the Town Hall Station and spent a while looking around the shops before heading to the Sydney Tower. David and Ron went up to the observation deck but Di and I were happy to give it a miss as it was fairly expensive. We had a wander through Myers instead. The boys enjoyed their time there. After a fair walk we got to Circular Quay and got a ferry to Manly. It was a bit choppy as we went past the heads but not enough to be a problem. We had lunch at Manly then returned on the next ferry, disembarked and caught a ferry to Darling Harbour. It gave us a different view of the harbour which was good to see. From there we walked back to the Town Hall station to catch the train back to Miranda. As we drove back to the park there was a magnificent rainbow. After a wet and bleak day it was a lovely sight. We watched the State of Origin at night and were disappointed to see Qld lose. Oh well, there’s always next time.

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Sydney panorama

SAM_8597             SAM_8608             SAM_8612

The bridge and opera house        Sydney town                        A beautiful rainbow

We spent a lovely day on Thursday with Gary and Judy. They live at Queens Park not far from the Sydney beaches and with the help of our trusty GPS we managed to get there without getting lost. Lots of talking over cups of tea and coffee before we went down to Clovelly Beach. We had a walk along the clifftops and beach, all the time keeping an eye on the threatening clouds. We made it back to the cars without getting wet thankfully. The afternoon involved plenty of eating, talking and laughter followed by pizzas for dinner. The rain set in during the afternoon and continued on into the night which made our drive home tricky on the busy Sydney roads. All in all it was a special day spent with two lovely friends.

SAM_8614 Clovelly Beach      SAM_8618

Clovelly Beach

Rain, rain and more rain for the next couple of days. It poured all night on our last night in Sydney, as we packed up on Friday morning, almost the whole way to Nelson Bay, a brief respite as we set up in the afternoon and then heavy rain again all night. On Saturday night we decided the only thing to do was to go to the movies. We’d been wanting to see “Woman in Gold” starring Helen Mirren for weeks and after a fair degree of trouble managed to locate the theatre and get seated just as the movie began. It was a great movie although confronting in many ways and reminded us again of the horrors of war and man’s inhumanity to man. During the afternoon we did some grocery shopping and then drove around Nelson Bay, Salamander Bay and Soldiers Point peering through the rain at the scenery. At the end of the day we were excited to see the sun again and to watch a beautiful sunset down at the beach.

SAM_8626         SAM_8642         SAM_8679

 

Sunsets and pelicans – some of my favourite things!

Sunday dawned and while the sun wasn’t shining there was actually no rain which was a relief. We began the day by worshipping at the Port Stephens Uniting Church and were challenged by the service there. After that we went down to the wharf and caught the ferry to Tea Gardens which is a little town across the bay from Nelson Bay. The trip takes an hour on the MV Tea Gardens. It is an old wooden boat which was originally built by the RAAF in the 1940’s and then in 1947 converted to a ferry. It operated in various places before coming to Port Stephens in the 1980’s. The weather improved as the day went on and after lunch we enjoyed a walk in the sunshine as we wandered beside the lake. There were dozens of pelicans enjoying the sunshine as well.

SAM_8690            SAM_8699 Old shed            SAM_8715

Myall Lake                                      Replica of old tin shed                    Gymea Lily

After the return trip we did a bit more sightseeing at Gan Gan Lookout, Shoal Bay and Fingal Bay. There were great views from the lookout – almost 360 degrees and looking out over the lakes and towns. The lake system has two and a half times the amount of water that Sydney Harbour has so it’s massive to say the least. Shoal Bay and Fingal Bay were pretty little places but as night was approaching we didn’t spend very long at either place.

SAM_8717 Gan Gan Lookout

View of Port Stephens from Gan Gan Lookout

SAM_8725 Shoal Bay           SAM_8727 Fingal Bay           SAM_8729 Nelson Bay

Shoal Bay                                               Fingal Bay                                    Nelson Bay

Days end at three lovely bays.  Tomorrow we will be on the road again – probably to Tuncurry or Forster.  We’ll make that decision after we’ve checked out both places but that’s it for now.

Meandering through NSW and Victoria

Batemans Bay to  Mittagong

We left Bermagui on Sunday morning to drive the 102km to Batemans Bay and along the way we stopped in to look at a couple of beaches but not much else of note happened that day. On Monday we drove back south to a town called Mogo, again a bit like a little Montville. We wandered the shops for a while but apart from morning tea didn’t buy anything. We continued on to Moruya which is the administrative hub of the region and stopped for a picnic lunch on the banks of the Moruya River. There was an icy wind blowing so we didn’t linger long. The granite that was used to build the Sydney Harbour Bridge came from this area. From there we followed a tourist route back along the coast and stopped at a few beaches along the way, namely Broulee, Mossy Point and Rosedale. They were all quite different but nice in their own way.

SAM_8122               SAM_8141 Mossy Point

Broulee (crystal clear water in rockpool)                            Mossy Point

SAM_8145

Rosedale Beach

On Tuesday we left Batemans Bay at 8 o’clock to drive to Canberra and spend the day at the War Memorial. The road up over the mountains is windy and steep and although it was only 150km to Canberra it took us just over two hours to get there. We spent six emotion filled hours at the War Memorial.   I don’t remember being as affected by it on my two previous visits but this time I really struggled at times to keep the tears at bay. The display that I found the hardest to cope with was that of the Sandakan Death March in Borneo. Of the 2,600 prisoners-of-war there only 6 survived. The photos of all the men were displayed on the wall and it really emphasised to me the horror of war. We were all glad we’d made the effort to go but left to return to Batemans Bay feeling very subdued. We were thankful to arrive back at the park safely just after 6.00pm. More than half the trip was done in the dark and down the winding mountain road so David was quite exhausted by the time he’d finished the drive.

SAM_8159           SAM_8189            SAM_8191

Original landing boat Gallipoli                     National War Memorial

Di and Ron went out on Wednesday to spend the day with people they’d met when we were in Margaret River almost two years ago. David and I had a fairly quiet day. Did a bit of shopping, I got my hair cut, drove around a few other areas that we hadn’t seen and spent some time reading. At night we all went out to dinner with the people Di and Ron had spent the day with. It was only 6 degrees by then so we were rather chilled by the time we walked from the carpark to the Country Club. It was a good night but we were pleased to get back to our nice warm vans afterwards.

Thursday was moving day and we set out planning to go to Kiama but by the time we’d stopped for morning tea we’d revised the plan and decided to go to Berry for a night instead. We detoured to look at the Warden Head lighthouse at Ulladulla and then did the tourist drive along Jervis Bay, stopping at the beach at Huskisson for a little while. We booked in to the Berry Showgrounds, set up, had lunch and then went for a drive to Kangaroo Valley. Another windy road to be negotiated but it was worth the effort as we drove through very pretty country on the way. We checked out the shops in the town of Kangaroo Valley before going on a little further to see Hampden Bridge which is the oldest suspension bridge in Australia. It was officially opened in 1898 and is still an impressive sight. From there we went on the The Lookout at Cambewarra Mountain. Unfortunately we arrived just too late to enjoy afternoon tea on the deck but we were able to check out the view and also watch some parrots feeding there.

SAM_8231 Warden Head Lighthouse, Ulladulla              SAM_8239              SAM_8253

Warden Head Lighthouse  Hampden Suspension Bridge  Cambewarra Mt Lookout

Friday saw us on the road again, this time to Kiama where we spent a couple of days. Our first afternoon we went to the blowhole and the lighthouse and for a look around the town. The next morning I went to put some washing on before we went out for the day only to discover that my towel had been stolen from the towel rail on the side of the van. I found out later that some cushions had been stolen from some couches near the laundry and then later in the day I found a wallet under the cabin behind our van. Someone had been busy! We went back to Nowra after breakfast as our TV aerial had somehow broken. David rang a caravan parts place and they said they had what we wanted so we drove the 48km only to find that the guy didn’t know what he was talking about and they didn’t have what we needed. Not happy! It wasn’t a totally wasted trip though as we drove out to Shoalhaven Heads and then followed the coast back almost to Kiama. We stopped at Seven Mile Beach and Black Head Reserve on the way. At Black Head Reserve there were some stand-up paddle boarders who paddled out through the surf and then caught large waves back towards shore. They were quite impressive to watch. We drove around Gerroa and Gerringong (a lot of the houses there had wonderful views out to sea) before stopping to have a picnic lunch by the beach. It was windy and cold so we didn’t linger long after we’d eaten. Not a lot happened for the rest of the day.

SAM_8271        SAM_8337       SAM_8328 Gerringong

Kiama Lighthouse                    The Blowhole blowing!                    Gerringong

Our next stopover was Mittagong but what a drive to get there. We knew nothing about Macquarie Pass which we had to traverse along the way and it was probably just as well! It cover 8 kilometres of the Illawarrra Highway and is very narrow with lots of hairpin bends to negotiate. The road was bad enough but it was made much worse by a large group of bikies who thought nothing of passing on double lines. One of them had a mishap which resulted in them stopping on the side of the road just after a hairpin bend which frightened the life out of us when we rounded the bend. We were thankful to eventually arrive at Mittagong in one piece but David and Ron were feeling pretty stressed. Lunch and a cup of tea soon fixed them up so we then piled into our car and went back to Bowral to have a look through the Bradman Museum and at the Bradman Oval. It was great to see and we spent ages in the museum and also in the International Cricket Hall of Fame. There are some beautiful old homes that we saw as we drove around Bowral afterwards. We checked out the two homes that Bradman had lived in also. By the time we got back to the park it was almost dark and the temperature had dropped dramatically so we retired to our vans for the night.

SAM_8391             SAM_8413             SAM_8423

Bradman, the musician     Bradman, the wise man                      Bradman Oval

That’s it for now.  We’re at Miranda just south of Sydney now but more of that next week.

 

Meandering through NSW and Victoria

Eden to Bermagui

Friday May 29 was moving on day – this time to Eden. We’ve spent time in some beautiful places and yet the next place always seems just as good if not better that the last. We loved our three days here. The first day we just spent looking around the town and Snug Cove wharf area. We weakened and bought fish and chips for lunch and thought we’d go down to the wharf to eat. Ron got there before the rest of us and when we rounded the corner to head on down he was surrounded by about 40 seagulls which were swooping down to try to get a free lunch for themselves. Within a couple of minutes David decided to go and bring the car down so that we could sit in it and eat in peace. We then had seagulls hovering outside the window and sitting on the bonnet looking in at us almost begging for food. On our second last day at Mallacoota David was outside our van cooking his bacon and eggs on our little gas stove. He turned his back to get the eggs out of the pan and a seagull swooped in, stole his bacon rasher off the plate and flew away with the rasher trailing and followed by a myriad of seagulls! We’re not too keen on seagulls now! After finishing lunch we drove up to Rotary Lookout which looks out over Twofold Bay.

SAM_7676        SAM_7670 Eden wharf

Twofold Bay                                                                  Wharf at Snug Cove

SAM_7681 Rotary Lookout Eden

Twofold Bay from Rotary Lookout

On Saturday we spent most of the day at the southern section of Ben Boyd National Park. The park is named after a Scotsman, Ben Boyd, a 19th century entrepreneur who in the early 1840’s established Boydtown and also built a tower which was to be a lighthouse but was never approved. Instead it became a lookout for whalers to spot passing whales. By about 1847 his business ventures had failed and he left Australia in 1849. All that remains now are the tower and the Seahorse Inn. The inn was abandoned for about 90 years before it was refurbished in the 1930’s and then again in 2006. It looks as though it would be a great place to stay. As we were walking to the tower we were amazed to see an enormous toadstool. The views from the tower and nearby lookout were spectacular.

SAM_7699           SAM_7721           SAM_7725 Ben Boyd Tower

Giant toadstool                                     Twofold Bay                          Ben Boyd Tower

SAM_7755        SAM_7756

View from Seahorse Inn                                                       Seahorse Inn

Our next stop was the multi-purpose Navy wharf which was built in 2003 in Twofold Bay at a cost of $43,000,000. It is quite an impressive sight. It is used by the Navy exclusively for up to 70 days per year and the rest of the year it is made available for commercial and local use. Just nearby and overlooking the bay is Edrom Lodge. It is a beautiful old home that was built just over a century ago by John R Lodge who was another Scottish entrepreneur who was instrumental in much of the development of Eden from the end of World War I until his death in 1937. The lodge is now open to the public to stay but is mostly for education groups.  We moved on then to Davidson Whaling Station and Loch Garra which was the home of the Davidson family. They operated the whaling station for more than three generations and it was Australia’s longest shore-based whaling station. Not much remains of the station but we enjoyed wandering around the old home and its gardens.

SAM_7732            SAM_7737 Navy Wharf Eden             SAM_7744

Edrom Lodge                       Huge fenders at Navy Wharf                Loch Garra

Finally we called in at Quarantine Bay to have a late picnic lunch. After eating we went to the boat ramp where we were entertained for ages by a seal, three giant stingrays and a pod of pelicans. When we returned to the park Di and I went to pay to stay for another night. We spent a while talking to the manager who told us he’d been out spearfishing and had speared two lobsters. Much to our surprise he offered them to us and we didn’t say no! They were still alive and there was much hilarity later on as we dealt with cooking them and then cutting them in half to eat. It was a great finish to a wonderful day.

SAM_7763         SAM_7792         SAM_7824 Quarantine Bay

Quarantine Bay                              Seal and stingray                      Pelican squadron

On Sunday we joined the folk at St George’s Uniting Church and had a wonderful time worshipping with them. They are a small congregation but very active in the community. They have a community garden which is open to the people of the town to work and share in. They also distribute about 20 food hampers per week to people in need within the town with goods for those sourced from donations from stores and folk in the community. We were very impressed by them and what they are doing. After sharing morning tea we left to visit the Eden Killer Whale Museum. It tells the story of the pods of killer whales which worked with Indigenous and European whalers to harass and herd larger whales towards the waiting harpoons of the whalers. It is one of the only known partnerships between wild animals and humans and we found the story fascinating. The skeleton of Old Tom who died in 1930 and was the last of the killer whales in Eden is housed there.

SAM_7833 Skeleton of Old Tom              SAM_7840               SAM_7844 Eden Killer Whale Museum

Old Tom’s skeleton               Lighthouse at the museum   The Pilot Psalm – 1874

David and Ron decided to try their hands at fishing later in the day so we all walked over to Aslings Beach near the caravan park. David caught an Australian salmon and then Di , who’d taken over from Ron because his hands were too cold to hold the rod, caught a little tailor which she returned to the sea to grow a little more. With that we all headed back to the park to thaw out and bring to an end another lovely day.

SAM_7858                        SAM_7864

The fish                                                                   The fishermen

Our next stop was to be at Merimbula, only a distance of 26km from Eden! David and I had stayed there in 1998 and loved the place so we decided to have another look there. We spent three lovely days visiting various places such as Pambula, Tathra, Kianinny Bay and the northern section of Ben Boyd National Park. At Pambula as we passed a caravan park it was raining and we were amused to see a number of kangaroos sheltering under the roofs of three cabins.

SAM_7892 Pambula Caravan Park

Kangaroos sheltering from the rain

On Tuesday we went to Tathra where we checked out the beaches and the old wharf which is the only open-sea timber wharf on Australia’s East Coast surviving from the coastal steamer trade era. It was built in 1862 and with several upgrades remained in service until 1954. From there we drove along the coast, stopping at a couple of lookouts (Pig and Whistle Lookout and Chamberlain Lookout) before finding our way down to Kianinny Bay. It was a good place to stop for lunch except for the cold wind which blew straight through us!

SAM_7899              SAM_7900              SAM_7928

Walkway to old wharf        Looking out from cargo shed                  Kianinny Bay

On our final day we drove back south a little to the northern section of the Ben Boyd National Park. We stopped firstly to look at Haycock Point and Haystack Rock. The surf was crashing in and as it was quite windy, the spray was blowing backwards as the breakers rolled in. There were a few friendly kangaroos along the path as we walked to the point who seemed more than happy to pose for photos. We had a quick look at Barmouth Beach which was more protected and then finally went to the Pinnacles. They are a formation of white sandstone with red cliffs behind them and, with the blue of the sea and sky and the green of shrubs above the cliffs, were quite striking.

SAM_7942         SAM_7938         SAM_7978 Haystack RockHaycock Point                            David at Haycock Point                    Haystack Rock

SAM_7993        SAM_8001         SAM_8016 The

Windswept waves                Two Roos checking us out               The Pinnacles

It was back to Merimbula then for a late lunch in a picnic area overlooking Short Point Beach before we returned to the vans for our last night in Merimbula.

SAM_8018  Short Point Beach, Merimbula

We woke to a very cold morning on June 4 – Ron’s birthday. It started off with a bang when Di shut the glass top on their hotplates before they were cool. There was a great explosion and then glass everywhere in the van. Eventually it was all cleaned up and we said goodbye to Merimbula and left for Bermagui. We had a morning tea stop at Tathra as a birthday celebration and shivered our way through it as it was still only 3 degrees at 10.30 am. After booking in to the park in Bermagui and setting up we walked down town and eventually had a nice seafood lunch on the waterfront. A quiet afternoon followed with just a walk to the waterfront again at the end of the day to watch a lovely sunset.

On Thursday we drove north to visit Tilba Tilba, Central Tilba, Narooma and Cobargo.  All except Narooma are classed as historic towns.  There was not much to see at Tilba Tilba so we didn’t linger there.  Central Tilba is like a mini Montville with quite a variety of shops to draw one in.  We first went into the ABC Cheese Factory.  Unfortunately there was no cheese being made but we watched milk being bottled in a semi-mechanised way which was interesting to see.  We came out of the shop a little poorer as they had some yummy cheeses.  Morning tea in a park was followed by a walk through the town and a look in many of the shops then it was back in the car for a drive through the hills behind Central Tilba – very pretty country.  Next stop was Narooma – another coastal town on a large inlet called Wagonga Inlet.  Again we had to fight off the seagulls as we ate our lunch by the water.  It would be a nice place to stay but that will be for another time.  Drove home through Cobargo and had a quick look at the old buildings there before returning to Bermagui.

SAM_8073           SAM_8080 Near Central Tilba also           SAM_8092

Central Tilba                          Near Central Tilba                  Boatsheds at Narooma

Saturday was a lazy day in Bermagui.  The sun was shining and it was a beautiful clear day so we spent time wandering around the waterfront and the town, coffee at Fishermen’s Wharf and then a slow stroll back to the park.  David cooked a leg of lamb in the Weber for dinner which we made short work of!

SAM_8043  Sunset at Bermagui

So that’s it for this week.  We’ve moved on to Batemans Bay now and I’ll be back in a week or so.

 

Meandering through NSW and Victoria

Lakes Entrance to Mallacoota

We moved on to Lakes Entrance on Thursday May 21 and had three most enjoyable days there. On Friday we firstly visited the Information Centre to find out what we should see and do. After that we set off to Buchan which was about 60 kilometres north west of Lakes Entrance on the Great Alpine Road. We stopped along the way to check out the Stoney Creek Railway Bridge built in 1916. At 276 metres long and 19 metres high it was one of the longest bridges in the Victorian Railways system and is quite impressive. On then to Buchan where the plan was to do a tour of a cave at 1.00pm. When we went to buy our tickets we were told that in parts of the cave it was only about three feet high and we figured that our backs and knees wouldn’t cope with that. Instead we opted for a tour at 3.00pm in a much larger cave. To fill in time we drove further north to check out the W Tree Falls near the town of W Tree. No amount of research by me has determined why the town, falls and creek were so named.       SAM_7237              SAM_7241               SAM_7253

Stoney Creek Railway Bridge    Autumn colour in Buchan           W Tree Falls

SAM_7261           SAM_7265        SAM_7266

Old cattle yards near W Tree  Little house in the high country    Beautiful scenery

We drove a little further on to a little town named Gelantipy then retraced our steps to Buchan to do the tour of Royal Cave. David elected to stay with the car as he doesn’t like enclosed spaces but Di, Ron and I braved it. Our guide was great and we all thoroughly enjoyed the tour through sometimes very narrow and not so high passages. The formations were spectacular and it was well worth doing.

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Stalagmites and stalactites inside Royal Cave

Saturday we were booked to do a boat trip to a little town called Metung, west of Lakes Entrance. The weather was overcast and cold so we stayed inside for most of the trip over. Lunch at the Metung Hotel was included in the cost of our trip so we headed there on arrival and enjoyed a nice meal. There was time then to look around the town but as it was Saturday afternoon very little was open. Instead we walked down to Shaving Point Reserve and along the way watched black swans, pacific gulls and pelicans swimming around. We reboarded the Thunderbird at 2.30 and on the return trip ventured into various little inlets. The Lakes Entrance system is enormous and beautiful to see. Just near The Entrance we left the boat for twenty minutes to look at New Works Historic Precinct. A settlement was established here in 1870 to make an artificial entrance into the lake system. It took 19 years to complete and was one of the greatest engineering feats of its time. After returning to Lakes Entrance we walked over the bridge which connects the town to the surf beach that is part of Ninety Mile Beach.

SAM_7380        SAM_7406 Metung        SAM_7412

You’re being followed!                      Metung wharf                   Looking back to Metung

Sunday morning saw us worshipping at the Uniting Church. They currently have no minister so worship is led by various members of the congregation. Again we felt blessed to be there and to share time with their church family. The rest of the day was spent driving to various points of interest. It was a lovely warm sunny day so the scenery was incredible to see.

SAM_7478        SAM_7487 Bridge at Lakes Entrance        SAM_7504

Man made entrance             Bridge to Ninety Mile Beach     Black swans a-swimming

We hit the road again on Monday morning and headed for Cann River. Along the way we detoured to Marlo to see where the Snowy River meets the sea. About an hour later we were at Cann River where we were soon set up. We had two reasons for stopping at Cann River. The first was to visit the bakery. Scott and Mitch had stopped there a couple of years ago and Mitch had his photo taken as he was about to eat a luscious looking pastry called a match. David wanted to sample one as well as having his photo taken in a similar pose. It was a source of amusement to a couple of other customers who wanted to know what we were doing as David posed outside the bakery. On then for a 45k drive to Point Hicks which our friend Wendy had recommended we visit. It was a beautiful spot and we enjoyed a little walk on the beach. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to do the 4k return walk to the lighthouse as it was getting quite late. After we returned to our campsite Ron got a fire going and we sat around it as we ate dinner. Eventually the cold got the better of us so we retired to our vans.

SAM_7514 Mouth of Snowy River at Marlo       Cann River Bakery       SAM_7527

The Snowy meets the sea                     AAh!                                    Point Hicks

Just a short drive of 70k on Tuesday and we were at Mallacoota where we booked in for three nights at the Mallacoota Foreshore Park. It is an enormous park with a total of 233 powered sites, 384 unpowered sites, 101 boat moorings and 24 jetties. We were thankful we were there at their low season as we could just imagine the chaos at peak times when it is fully booked out. We had the most perfect weather the whole time at Mallacoota and it’s amazing how much better everything looks when the sun is shining brightly. Our first afternoon there we visited Bastion Point and Betka Beach – both were lovely to see. The next morning we headed back out towards the Princes Highway firstly to stop in at Gipsy Point (a pretty spot) and then to a little town called Genoa where we had been told there was a good butcher. Unfortunately we’d been led up the garden path as there are no shops at all. We took the chance to read some signs about the history of the town and to wander across the old timber bridge which is now for pedestrians only. Back to Betka Beach then to do a clifftop walk to Point Difficult Lookouts where as usual there was some stunning scenery.

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Point Bastion Lookout                      Point Bastion                 Reflections at Gipsy Point

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From Point Difficult Lookout          Mallacoota Inlet                 How big was this tree?

Our final day at Mallacoota was a lazy day. This being a tourist is exhausting! We walked up town at some stage and also walked around the caravan park which in itself is quite an achievement given the size of the park! On Friday morning we packed up and set off for Eden but more of that in my next post.

SAM_7667 Mallacoota sunset

Farewell from Mallacoota

 

Meandering through NSW and Victoria

Dandenong South to Bairnsdale

We left Dandenong on Friday May 15 with our next stop to be at Phillip Island.  We had put off going there a few days earlier because of bad weather but it was slowly improving. Obviously not many people go to Phillip Island at this time of year as there was only one other van in the park when we booked in. We were given two great sites  and there was a terrific camp kitchen complete with a fireplace and a more than ample supply of firewood just waiting to be used. After setting up and lunch we went for a drive to the eastern most point of the island – Cape Woolamai. It was very cold and windy there so we lingered just long enough to have a quick look and take a photo. It was a very pretty spot – the first of many on the island. Ron got the fire going when we arrived back at the park and we huddled around that while having dinner.

SAM_6935 San Remo to Phillip Island    SAM_6936

Bridge from San Remo to Phillip Island                A grey day at Cape Woolamai

Both Saturday and Sunday were lovely clear sunny days and we had a wonderful time exploring the island. We began by visiting The Nobbies, rocky outcrops which are at the eastern end of the island. We followed the boardwalk around the headland and on to the blowhole and spent ages enjoying the scenery. The hillside was dotted with little wooden nesting boxes built there for the penguins. As we headed back to Cowes we stopped at various lookouts to further admire the views. Home then for a late lunch and then Ron, Di and I set off to explore the shops of Cowes while David stayed at the van to get the Weber going and the leg of lamb cooking.  More sitting around the fire at night as we tucked in to a lovely roast dinner.

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Looking east from The Nobbies     Enjoying the sunshine                The Nobbies

SAM_7016 Phelans Bluff

View from Phelans Bluff with stands for penguin viewing on the left overlooking the beach.

We went to church in Cowes on Sunday morning and were made to feel very welcome. We shared morning tea afterwards and picked up a few tips about things to see and do both on and off the island. Explored a couple more beaches on our way to Churchill Island where we were having lunch to celebrate my birthday. It was a great spot and we sat looking out over Western Port Bay. We were visited by a peacock while having lunch! Both Churchill and Phillip Islands are overrun with Cape Barren Geese almost to the point of being in plague proportions. We found them to be quite fascinating. There was time for a bit more sightseeing at some beaches and a historic precinct before going back to the van. We all enjoyed a walk on the beach before dinner and watched a pretty sunset. More sitting around the fire as we ate dinner at night. We enjoyed chatting to a couple of young English girls who were staying at the park for a couple of nights. I had a lovely birthday made more special by countless phone calls and messages from family and friends.

SAM_6999 Cape Barren Geese        SAM_7023        SAM_7025

Cape Barren Geese            Lunchtime at Churchill Island     Our view at lunchtime

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A lunchtime guest!               Longhaired and longhorned!           Pyramid Rock

It was time to move on again on Monday and at the recommendation of a few people we headed to Walhalla. It is a little mining town where gold was first discovered in 1862. At its peak it had a population of over 3,500 but now has less than 20 permanent residents. Our GPS sent us on a very roundabout route to get there which meant we arrived much later than we had planned. Along the way we stopped for morning tea at Cape Patterson where we enjoyed chatting with a couple of locals. We checked out another lookout called Eagle’s Nest and then drove on for another hour or so. We saw a sign pointing to a place called Mossvale Park along the way and decided to turn in there for lunch. It turned out to be the most amazing find – a huge park which was originally planted by a nurseryman over 100 years ago. Huge trees everywhere most of which were deciduous so there were leaves inches thick on the ground. There were two bus loads of school children probably aged about 7 there and they were having a marvellous time raking up the leaves then throwing them at each other or burying each other in them. We had a great time watching them enjoying themselves.

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Autumn beauty at Mossvale Park

The rest of the drive to Walhalla was up a winding mountainous road so David and Ron were pleased when we finally reached the town. We set up in the free camp area then did a bit of exploring. Quite a number of the original houses are still there and the town is situated in a narrow valley so buildings are perched up the sides of the valley in very precarious places. We couldn’t begin to imagine how some of them were built. The cemetery clings to the side of the hill at a 45 degree angle. Electricity only came to Walhalla in 1998 and it was the last town in Victoria to be connected to the power supply. The sun makes a late entrance to and an early exit from the valley as it is so steep sided. We enjoyed a campfire once the sun disappeared and then tucked ourselves up in bed with hot water bottles, blankets, doonas etc and managed to survive the night. We did some more exploring of the town the next morning before setting off at about lunchtime for Bairnsdale.

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Fire station built over creek     Windsor House built 1890              Band Rotunda      owing to no flat land available

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Post Office Walhalla                       Beautiful birdlife                   Creek at Walhalla

Two nights were spent at the Bairnsdale Riverside Holiday Park right next to the Mitchell River. It was a lovely spot with plenty of bird life to keep us entertained. Wednesday morning we visited the Information Centre to find out what we should see and do. Our first stop after that was at St Mary’s Catholic Church. It is said to be the Sistine Chapel of Australia.   An excerpt from the church’s website says:- “The comprehensive interior decorative scheme of murals depicting the apostles, numerous saints, imaginings of purgatory, heaven and hell and the literally hundreds of scraphims and cherubims were painted by an Italian migrant, Francesco Floreani between 1931 and 1938.” We all thought it was amazing.

 SAM_7212        SAM_7215 St Mary's Church Bairnsdale

St Mary’s Catholic Church

We travelled south east from Bairnsdale to Eagle Point and Paynesville which are on Lake King and Lake Victoria respectively. One of the “must sees”, according to the tourist brochures, were the silt jetties which extend over 8 kilometres into Lake King. So off we set, not really knowing what we were looking for. We drove over an extremely rough pot-holed gravel road as far as we could go and there we came upon a fisherman who told us we’d just driven right along the silt jetty. Well, who would have known! It’s right up there with the stromatolites which we saw in WA two years ago on the list of things we won’t be rushing back to see again! Paynesville was a pretty town and was worth a visit. While we were having afternoon tea at The Bluff at Eagle Point a cheeky magpie hopped onto the rock were our picnic bags etc were and as quick as a flash snatched one of Ron’s biscuits. It enjoyed its afternoon tea!

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And the winner is…….!            Lake King from The Bluff                 The silt jetties

Thursday saw us farewelling Bairnsdale and on the road again to Lakes Entrance a whole 40 kilometres away but more of that in my next post.

 

 

 

 

 

Meandering through NSW and Victoria

Bright to Dandenong

We left Bright on Wednesday May 6 for a short drive of 60km to Beechworth. In the afternoon we went to the Information Centre and purchased a Historic Precinct Golden Ticket which gave us access for four days to various historic buildings, the museum and a couple of guided walks. We looked through a few of the buildings including the Ned Kelly Vault (previously the Gold Receivers Office and Sub Treasury) which houses the world’s largest collection of Kelly Gang materials. I’m not totally convinced that we should be glorifying criminals but a lot of the towns in this area make much of their activities. We then checked out Harry Power’s cell under what was once used as the courthouse. He was apparently a gentleman bushranger and also Ned Kelly’s mentor. Finally we checked out Gold Warden’s office and then the courthouse which is a magnificent old building. It was the scene of many trials involving Ned Kelly and his mother. Sir Isaac Isaacs began his legal career here before going on to become the first Australian born governor general. He was appointed to that position in 1930 at the age of 75 and served for a period of 5 years.

SAM_6743   The Historic Precinct

Thursday was spent driving around the area looking at some nearby towns. Firstly we went on the Gorge scenic drive which covers the area around the northern and western outskirts of Beechworth and was a very pretty drive. We then visited the towns of Yackandandah and Chiltern – both old gold mining towns. They were both quaint little places that we enjoyed visiting. We returned to Beechworth via the Woolshed Falls. Apparently people swim at the base of them in summer but we could have just about skated there today. Ron got the fire going back at the caravan park and we cooked dinner in the camp oven then huddled shivering around the fire to eat before beating a hasty retreat to the warmth of our vans.

SAM_6768            SAM_6772  Replica of gold miners hut           SAM_6780

Newtown Bridge and Falls     Miners Hut at Chiltern                     Woolshed Falls

On Friday morning we booked in for another night as we still had things to see and do in Beechworth. We all did a guided walk around the town in the morning. It was very chilly so we were well rugged up. The guide was great and had a terrific knowledge about the town and surrounding areas so made it extremely interesting. Once we’d finished that we drove out to a couple more little old gold mining towns – Stanley and Eldorado but neither had a lot going for them. Home for a late lunch then and a short break before we went back into town to visit the Robert O’Hara Burke Memorial Museum. Burke, who was the Superintendent of Police here from 1854 to 1858, is the Burke of Burke and Wills fame and the museum was renamed in his honour in 1861 after his death. Part of the museum was set up as a 19th century recreation of a Beechworth streetscape and we all enjoyed looking at that. There were lots of other interesting displays as well to make it a worthwhile visit.

SAM_6788 But But Tree Beechworth          SAM_6790 Old railway line route Beecvhworth          SAM_6791 Leaves at Beechworth

400 year old tree                    Autumn colours                         Buried in leaves!              at Beechworth

We hooked the vans up on Saturday morning and moved on to Marysville which was one of the towns decimated by the Black Saturday bushfires in February 2009. Nearly 90% of the buildings in the town were destroyed and 45 people were killed. Much of the town has been rebuilt since then although we noticed many house blocks that are bare so obviously it was all too difficult for some people to remain here. On Sunday morning we followed the Black Spur drive to Healesville. It is a distance of about 30km through towering mountain ash forests with huge ferns covering the forest floor. It was wet and misty as we drove through the area and quite hauntingly beautiful. We went to church in Healesville where we were made very welcome. Next we paid a quick visit to Maroondah Reservoir before then driving to Yarra Glen to celebrate Mothers’ Day with lunch at the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie. It was obviously a popular choice as there were hundreds of people there. We enjoyed a lovely lunch as we huddled under a heater and then sampled some chocolate and made a couple of small purchases! We drove home via Kinglake, another town badly affected by the bushfires in 2009. After dinner David, Ron and I went to check out the Steavenson Falls just out of Marysville. They are floodlit at night and were a sight to behold. Because it had been raining almost non-stop since we arrived here there was a huge amount of water rushing over.

SAM_6843       SAM_6845       SAM_6838 Steavenson Falls Marysville

Steavenson River                       Beauty in the mist             Steavenson Falls by night

On Monday morning we were due to move on to Phillip Island but when we rang the caravan park there they recommended that we delay visiting for a few days as gales force winds, possible hail storms and rain were expected. After a quick consultation we settled on spending some time at Dandenong on the outskirts of Melbourne. We’ve ended up having four nights here and it has been wet most of the time. We visited a couple of shopping centres one day in search of some new shoes for David and also to stock up on some groceries. That was followed by a drive to Frankston and along the waterfront where it was blowing a gale and freezing cold. We woke to the news on Wednesday morning that there had been a light snowfall at Mt Dandenong so quickly got organised and drove up there to check it out. We went to a place called Sky High on the top of the mountain which is apparently famous for its views but the views were non-existent that day owing to very low clouds. That didn’t deter us though from having a wonderful time. The snow had turned to ice but we managed to make some snowballs to throw at each other and Ron made a little snowman. We wandered through the English Garden and Secret Garden, admired the Australiana Tree which was designed and sculpted over a period of three weeks in 2006 and enjoyed coffee beside a roaring fire.

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Light snow at Mt Dandenong              Love the view!                    Ron’s snowman

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Beauty in the English Garden   Entry to the Secret Garden       The Australiana Tree

We drove through a few pretty little towns in the Dandenong Ranges on the way home and stopped to admire Puffing Billy at Belgrave. He is a steam engine who was the star of a book that I used to love reading to the boys when they were young. At night I left the others to their own devices and went to have dinner with our friend Wendy who we first met in Townsville nearly forty years ago. It was lovely to catch up with her again.

SAM_6932 Puffing Billy getting ready to roll

Today Di, Ron and I went into Melbourne city by bus and train to have a look around. David wasn’t well so he stayed at the van to have a rest. We wandered the streets for hours but stopped off to have morning tea at Hopetown Tea Rooms in the Block Arcade which had come highly recommended by a friendly volunteer near Federation Square. She knew what she was talking about! We met my nephew Andrew for a late lunch in Lygon Street. It was great to catch up with him over lunch and as he walked us back to the station via the State Library where he showed us the Reading Room. It was quite beautiful. We managed to successfully negotiate the public transport system again and arrived home just before six o’clock.

IMG_0345 Hopetown Tea Rooms Melbourne    IMG_0346 Melbourne State Library

 

Fine fare at Hopetoun Tea Rooms                 Beautiful State Library Reading Room

 

Tomorrow we move on – probably to spend a couple of days on Phillip Island but for now this is the end.